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Former President Barack Obama will officially endorse his former vice president, Joe Biden, on Tuesday, marking the Democratic establishment’s formal consolidation around the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, a source familiar with the plans confirms to NPR.
Obama remains an incredibly popular figure among Democrats and had previously declined to publicly discuss potential endorsements in the primary race. Known as a powerful campaigner, Obama’s role is crucial for Democrats in the November faceoff against incumbent President Trump.
The endorsement will come a day after Biden’s lone remaining competitor in the Democratic primary, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, threw his unequivocal support behind the longtime moderate.
Biden, who has promoted himself as the candidate most closely aligned with Obama’s values, has talked about “my buddy Barack” throughout the primary campaign but has said he specifically requested his longtime ally not endorse during the primary process.
“I want to earn this on my own,” Biden told the CBS News program 60 Minutes in October.
In 2016, Obama waited until Hillary Clinton had officially won the nomination to endorse his former secretary of state.
Biden’s race to the top of the once-crowded Democratic field faced a number of complications, with the 77-year-old weathering criticisms about his age and campaign style, as well as his position as a moderate in a party that has seen increasing pressure to move its policies further left. Biden has embraced more ideas championed by Sanders, including forgiving student debt in the midst of the coronavirus crisis for lower- and middle-income families.
Coming on the heels of Sanders’ endorsement, Obama’s backing is another way for Democrats to consolidate the party’s factions around Biden to reclaim the White House for Democrats, including the increasingly progressive wing of the party, led by Sanders.